Friday, February 5, 2010

Friday Follow-up

Faith Like a Mustard Seed

This station left me with more questions than answers.

1) Did anyone notice that the Mark 4:30-32 reference did not match the quote?
In fact that passage was used for an earlier station titled Smallness to Significance. (BTW, as I went back and searched, I realized that I never wrote a follow-up to that one.)

2) So, what is the correct reference for the scripture quote?

It is Matthew 17:20 (NASB).
One commenter noted the sea on the right: "I think the stuff in the lower right is the sea, with waves and perhaps a rock.[mountain top, perhaps?] Isn't there one verse that says something about telling the mountain to go throw itself into the sea?" Yes, Matthew 21:21 says that. And, yes, that's what the art representation looked like to me also.
The same commenter noted the likeness of the designs on the mountain to thorns, which would symbolize the pain Jesus went through bearing our mountain of sin. The comparative smallness of the struggling person might be significant as well, reminding me of the statement in Hebrews 12:4 which basically says we have not suffered as much as Christ.
I look at the struggler and ask:
3) When have I/you felt like that, gone through something like that, barely hanging on, no strength left?

Or, as the other commenter pointed out:
4) Is it a relying-on-self, I-can-do-this, "I think I can, I think I can" attitude, instead of saying, Lord, I believe, help my unbelief , "You take over, You do this, I cannot"?

About the technique:
5) What is 'painted metal'?
 My DIL liked the stark quality of the black and white, no color. There again, technique adds meaning.

An interesting note I read in the commentary section provided by Bible Gateway: "'moving mountains' was a typical Jewish teacher's image for doing what was virtually impossible." Going over the several mustard-seed-size-faith passages, I was struck by Jesus repeatedly pointing out the faithlessness of the disciples.
In that culture the disciple or apprentice was expected to learn from the teacher, mentor and be able then to replicate, repeat, do-as-he-did. The commentary goes on "With this illustration Jesus indicates that even were we casting out mountains rather than demons, we would only be scratching the surface of a life of faith."
Then another question:
6) What could we do with faith greater than that of a tiny mustard seed!?
This challenge reminded me of the promise in John 14:12 that we will do greater things!
Can you believe it?  (Oops, that was another question!)

On the lighter side:
There is a short story titled La fe y las montaƱas by Guatemalan satirist, Augusto Monterroso. His stories are so short they are called mini-cuentos. I enjoyed using this one when I taught college Spanish. Here is my rough translation (for those who did not already read the original).
At first, Faith moved mountains only when it was absolutely necessary, thus the landscape remained the same for millennia. But when the Faith began to propagate and people found it amusing to move mountains, these did nothing but move around and it was increasingly difficult to find them where you had left them the night before which of course created more difficulties than the ones it solved.

Good people preferred then to abandon the Faith and now mountains generally remain in their place. When there are falling rocks on the highway and several travelers die, it is because someone, very far away or close by, experienced the slightest hint of faith.

In closing, a song that's been going around in my head and in my humming: 
Faith is just believing what God said He would do.
He will never leave us, His promises are true.
If we but believe Him, His children we become...

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